“How much is my case worth?” is probably the most popular question I get from new clients evaluating the worth of their personal injury claim:
An Illinois personal injury claim is valued using a variety of factors – all of which when considered collectively – help personal injury attorneys to “value” their clients’ claims.
First, an injury lawyer will look at the nature of the accident itself. Was the other side 100% at fault? Or did you contribute to the collision somehow (i.e. from making an improper turn)? Next, a personal injury attorney will look at what kind of injury you have (i.e. the severity of the injury). Generally speaking, the worse the injury, the higher a case will be “valued.”
Your course of treatment will be considered. For example, let’s say that you are rear ended and are diagnosed with classic cervical/neck sprain. Did you see a chiropractor or a physical therapist? Did you follow the recommended course of treatment? Or did you take “breaks” in treatment? A client who follows the course of treatment to the letter versus a client who skips appointments and fails to seek treatment for their injury promptly will have a higher “value” on their claim than the former. On that same note, the total value of your treatment (exclusive of any payments made by insurance or third parties) will be considered in valuing your claim. Again, the more expensive your treatment, the higher the value your claim may have.
Your pain and suffering will be considered. A good personal injury attorney will draw out for the insurance company how your quality of life suffered as a result of the accident. If you missed work as a result of the accident, that can also be considered – provided you lost income as a result. If you suffered property damage, that also can be considered.
Something else that a seasoned Illinois personal injury attorney will consider is the venue in which your case will be filed. The “value” of your case will ultimately be decided by a jury if your case is taken all the way to trial. A personal injury case, for the most part, must be filed in the County where the collision occurred OR in the County where the defendant lives -with some exceptions. Historically, cases filed in counties that are traditionally more “liberal”, such as Cook County, perform better at trial than cases filed in more “conservative” counties such as DuPage County. That being said, many trial lawyers are performing well in all counties – which is why you need to be extremely selective when retaining an injury lawyer to represent you in your case.
Other factors that can be considered when valuing a claim include — YOU. Are you likeable? Will a jury like you? Is there anything about your past or character that might not sit well with the fact finder? The same consideration needs to be made regarding the potential defendant. Your health history and lifestyle choices may also be considered.
Ultimately, “valuing” a personal injury claim should never be done without the assistance of a skilled and seasoned Illinois personal injury attorney. The best part of hiring an injury lawyer is that most of us work on a contingency basis – meaning injury lawyers don’t get paid until they recover for their clients. Free consultations are extremely common – if not standard. I high recommend that you seek out a professional that you trust before you settle anything on your injury case. And you should act quickly – as there are time limits on filing such a claim.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with my office regarding your injury claim, call (847) 628-8305 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.